Politics

So much for the “IRS hassled progressives too” excuse

So much for the "IRS hassled progressives too" excuse

Quick reminder: anyone who told you the IRS scandal was “collapsing” because progressive groups also appeared on watch lists is not a “journalist.”

The Treasury Inspector General made that painfully clear, as reported by The Hill:

Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, told Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) in a letter dated Wednesday that the IRS did not use inappropriate criteria to scrutinize groups with “progressives” in their name seeking tax-exempt status.

“Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives’ identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012,” George wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.

The inspector general also stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention.

“While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘progressives’ was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention,” George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Got that, “journalists?”  Or do you need it repeated again?  You may discontinue further efforts to help Democrats bury the scandal.

Of course, those efforts were ridiculous anyway, because the scandal was never just about which words appeared on watch lists.  It’s about what actually happened to the hundreds of targeted groups… and some of the watch lists Democrats began waving around as “exculpatory evidence” last week actually had different instructions for dealing with Tea Party groups written right on them.

Might as well make this a roundup of bad news about the agency our Democrat friends are so eager to protect!  Another IRS official took the Fifth to avoid congressional testimony on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of the notorious Lois Lerner.  This official, Gregory Roseman, was embroiled in a good old-fashioned corruption scandal, not the new Obama-era practice of using the IRS as a club to beat political opponents.  From a UPI report:

The committee Tuesday released a report alleging Roseman’s “cozy relationship” with Strong Castle Inc. President Braulio Castillo helped the company secure contracts worth a possible $500 million.

In May, Lois Lerner, who led the IRS division on tax-exempt organizations before she was placed on administrative leave, invoked her right to remain silent during a hearing on the agency’s scandal last month.

When Issa asked Roseman when he became aware of a company called Strong Castle Inc., Roseman, who since has been removed from his position, again invoked his Fifth Amendment right.

In his opening statement, Issa said: “Our investigation is still in its infancy. Today, we are working with the I.G. [inspector general] and hope to work with others within the IRS to end this problem.”

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the evidence obtained by the committee “indicates at least an appearance of impropriety, because Mr. Roseman did not disclose this relationship or recuse himself from the contracting process.”

The IRS, already embroiled in a scandal over disclosures it wrongly targeted conservative groups applying for a tax exemption, awarded the contracts to Strong Castle Inc., an information technology firm in Leesburg, Va., because of the relationship between Roseman and Castillo, the panel’s report said.

Castillo bought the business with his wife in January 2012, and within six months Strong Castle had upwards of a half-billion dollars in IRS contracts, the committee report said.

Before Castillo took over the company, it had no federal contracts, the report said.

But Roseman told Castillo on Dec. 31, 2011, shortly before he bought the business, the company would be “Fortune 500 in no time,” the report said.

“By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts,” Issa said in a statement.

Roseman also took the Fifth “when asked to whom he reported at the IRS,” which really doesn’t sound like the sort of question a government official should be allowed to refuse to answer, ever.  Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) has introduced a bill that would require the government to immediately terminate any employee who invokes the Fifth Amendment to avoid congressional testimony, or if a three-fourths majority of a congressional body believes a federal employee gave false testimony to them during a hearing.  That sounds like a smashing idea that can’t happen fast enough.  Let’s broom this “immigration reform” stuff, and all the other ruling-class obsessions, so we can start the urgent business of cleaning up the government without delay.

We literally can’t afford to wait any longer, because these bloated bureaucracies are burning huge piles of our money on outrageous expenses… such as booze, romance novels, diet pills, stuffed animals, stovepipe hats, baby clothing, bathtub toys, kazoos, Nerf footballs, a popcorn machine, and pornography, all of which were purchased with IRS credit cards.  They never even played with the Nerf footballs, which were found stuffed in a filing cabinet.

Perhaps it’s a good thing the IRS skipped the Nerf football tournament, because that would distract them from the urgent business of carefully managing the millions of dollars they squeeze from hard-working Americans, to pay for (most of… well, okay, two-thirds of) the equally irresponsible spending of other government agencies.  We certainly wouldn’t want IRS agents falling asleep at the switch while $46 million in fraudulent tax refunds for 23,994 different people got sent to one address in Atlanta!  Oh, wait, that actually happened.  I can’t wait for these people to take over my health care, can you?

Update: More thrilling stories of IRS incompetence!  How about over $7 million in tax refunds deposited into a single bank account used by 2,706 aliens who were not authorized to work in the United States?  And there’s a single address in Raleigh that scooped up 2,408 fraudulent tax returns totaling another $7 million.

But don’t worry, your sensitive health care information will be in the very best of hands.  And I’m sure they’ll do a bang-up job of collecting fines and back taxes at the toll booth on that special “pathway to citizenship” we’re going to open for illegal aliens.

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